USFWS Rejects Portion of Wolf Plan

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided that Wyoming’s wolf management plan and state law are inadequate and will need to be changed before the wolf can be taken off the endangered species list. In a letter received January 13, the federal agency informed Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Terry Cleveland that the state’s classification of wolves as a predatory animal is not an option.

The Wyoming Legislature passed a bill last year giving wolves a dual status of trophy game animal in a portion of northwestern Wyoming and predatory animal status elsewhere in the state. Animals classified as predatory animals in Wyoming can be harvested with unregulated take. The game and fish commissions of Montana and Idaho have the authority to impose regulated hunting seasons and bag limits statewide. The federal agency found both Montana and Idaho’s plans adequate.

“We are going to review the letter and talk to our commissioners, governor, legislators, congressional delegation and wildlife professionals and then we’ll have a response to this decision,” said Cleveland. “At this point, we’ll need to regroup a bit and weigh our options. We remain committed to delisting wolves as soon as possible.”